x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Visiting mother can get permit for disabled parking

Visitors who qualify for disabled parking permits can get them from the Roads and Transport Authority.

In the EU, there is a Blue Badge system that you put in your car to use disabled parking spaces. My mother has one of these, but will she be able to use it when she visits us? Do you know if the UAE has the same system, or if there is a way of getting some sort of disabled parking permit that we can use for her benefit when she is here? VB, Dubai

The European Blue Badge system is not valid in the UAE, but disabled parking permits are available for both residents and visitors who own their own vehicle. The car in which the permit is used must by be owned by the applicant or a first-degree relative of the person with the disability. The permit can only be used when the person to whom it pertains is in the vehicle. There are four different types of disabled parking permits and VB requires a Yellow Card "tourist disability courtesy" for her mother's use. She will need to provide a medical report attested by the home embassy and proof of the Blue Badge her mother has in the EU. Applications have to be made with the person with the disability present at the Deira Traffic Department (Al Ittihad branch) of the Roads and Transport Authority. Proof of identity (passports) and vehicle ownership must be shown and upon approval the permit will be issued. Fines are applied for the misuse of permits.


Last week, you answered a question from someone who has a UK pension plan. I have one, too, although I think it's a different type. I have just moved to the UAE for a two-year period on secondment from my employer, but neither of us are sure if either they, or I, can continue paying into my plan. Are you able to clarify? PR, Abu Dhabi

The pension scheme in question is what is known as a defined contribution arrangement, an occupational scheme in which final benefits are based on contributions, rather than a defined benefit (also known as a final salary) scheme where benefits are based on years of service and salary. A UK employer can make contributions to a UK-registered pension scheme for one of their employees who is working overseas. There must, however, be continuous employment and the individual must have a UK employment contract, as opposed to a local one. If this is not the case, then contributions must cease during the period of the secondment.


I would like to know if it's legal or if there are any rules for companies that charge employees for their mistakes if they cause the company to lose money in some way. One of my colleagues is being charged over and over for every single mistake he makes, whether it's major and obvious, or even due to a misunderstanding. He's being charged 100 per cent of the company's selling value for whatever the mistake is and this is most of his salary. PK, Dubai

The UAE's Labour Law does allow for fines to be levied, but there are strict rules that apply. According to Article 104, the fine can be a fixed sum or an amount equivalent to the employee's wage for a certain period. A fine for one violation must not exceed five days' wages. In any one month, total fines cannot exceed an amount equivalent to five days' wages, provided this sum is commensurate with the value of the damage caused. The employer must keep a formal record of the penalty and if the employee disputes the fine, this must also be recorded. The employer should keep a special account for these fines, the monthly total of which should be spent on the social welfare of all employees of the business. If the employer is not adhering to these rules and the employee is being treated unfairly, a complaint should be made to the Ministry of Labour.


I was talking with a colleague recently and she said I should register my rental contract with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA). I am not sure why and asked my landlord about it and he said it wasn't necessary. Can you confirm what the situation is and if there is a benefit? LW, Dubai

The RERA, part of Dubai's Land Department, has stated that it is mandatory for all rental contracts to be registered with its Ejari division. Either the landlord or the tenant can register the contract and they need not refer to or advise the other party when they do this. The main benefit is that in the event of a dispute, the Rent Committee of Dubai Municipality will need to see a registered contract before dealing with any problems. It is free to register and the forms can be downloaded from www.ejari.ae. The completed forms must be taken to the Ejari section at the Land Department in Deira.


Can you tell me if it is legal to work or run a business from my home? I have small children so cannot take on a full-time job, but would like to work from home if it is allowed. I have been hearing different opinions from people and would like some clarification. ARDubai

It is permissible to carry out certain functions from your place of residence, but you must have a legally set-up company and a registered office or premises elsewhere. Alternatively, some occupations may register as individuals in a free zone. UAE law states that you may not reside in your place of work, so your home can therefore only be a secondary place of work. The only exception to this appears to be various small-trading businesses that operate under an umbrella licence, but this means that they may only sell their goods with the permission of the licence holder at approved venues at specified dates. In all cases, the individual must have legal residency.


Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. onyourside@thenational.ae